The internet was basically built on the GPL, and most of the code that makes it go was built using the GPL.
Exactly which planet are you referring to, because it isn't this one. GPL v1 is from 1989. Depending on exactly what you want to count as "The Internet" you can put the start date as early as 1969 or as late as 1983. Commercialization and ISPs arrived in 1988 in the US. Cisco provided many of the routers used (started 1984). BSD was the main OS used for TCP/IP development and research. BBN had the "reference implementation". Every single one of these things predates the GPL. The BSD TCP/IP stack was ported to many other platforms, including Windows. One thing is categorically certain - the Internet was not built on the GPL. If anything it was built on BSD licensed software.
For one thing, making you pay for all of our code you are secretly using for free.
The GPL is not and has never been about price. It is about freedom to share, modify and use. You can charge whatever you want. You can even charge people a small reasonable fee to get the source code. It also depends on copyright law. Someone "secretly using" anyone's code without permission is violating copyright.
I for one have had enough of the whining about the GPL and how restrictive it is.
The GPL is restrictive because you cannot change the terms under which the code can be redistributed. It also applies to the whole program. For example if you add one line of GPL code to a 20 million line program then the whole program has to become GPL compatible. Note I use the GPL for most of my stuff and consider that the cost if you want to use my code. But it certainly is more restrictive. There is the LGPL which mitigates this but its use is discouraged.
It seems to me, its only restrictions is you can't rip people off.
"Ripping people off" is usually a financial thing. Google have built a multi-billion dollar empire using lots of other people's GPL code (eg Linux kernel) and have not paid them. The GPL allows you to use GPL code within a company and providing you do not distribute outside of the company you can use code as you see fit, so the original author gets "ripped off".
Your view of the GPL is just plain wrong. It is about freedom and the restrictions are largely that you have to provide the same freedoms on the code you receive to others if you pass the code or derivatives on to others.